By Molly Hayden, Staff Writer, U.S. Army Garrison, HawaiiMay 15, 2008
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS - Regardless of where Soldiers and their families are stationed, the local commissary has been a staple in providing military and family members with the same groceries they are used to in their hometowns.
Especially outside the continental United States, in overseas locations, the commissary privilege allows authorized patrons to purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, according to the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA). The surcharge covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones.
During the month of May, the military ohana can expect bigger deals on the items they desire during Commissary Awareness Month. Patrons may see some savings as high as 50 percent off commercial prices.
The annual awareness month takes place at commissaries around the globe to raise awareness about savings provided to service and family members and offer special discounts on everyday items.
"We want to get the word out about the value we provide to the Army community," said Susan Sturgeon-Campbell, store director at the Schofield Barracks commissary. "Soldiers and their families provide us a service everyday; this is one way of giving back."
Sturgeon-Campbell is also teaming up with the Schofield Barracks Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) program in raising awareness amongst single Soldiers.
"Many of the single Soldiers aren't aware of the commissary and what it provides," said BOSS president Spc. Pamela Hardin-Raikes. "We want to inform them, so they can take advantage of the savings and products offered."
The BOSS program is promoting health and fitness during May with supermarket games and weekly tours of the commissary. DeCA staff are taking the opportunity to explain healthy eating options.
"Many Soldiers fall into the fast food lifestyle," said Hardin-Raikes. "We want everyone to be familiar with the commissary and inform them of ways they can live a healthier life."
Sgt. Roddrick Johnson of 125th Finance Battalion shops at the commissary for the convenient location and competitive prices.
"[The commissary] has everything we need," said Johnson. "It's the only place we shop."
In addition to its monthlong celebration of savings, the commissary will hold a case lot sale in May and September. The biannual event offers shoppers the opportunity to buy bulk quantities of their favorite products at increased savings. Case lot items include canned goods, beverages, paper products and laundry supplies.
Though overall savings at the commissary are holding steady at 30 percent or more - a savings worth about $3,000 annually for a family of four - case lot sales can increase those savings even more, according to DeCA.
"We are your grocery store away from home," said Sturgeon-Campbell. "We have products you may not find anywhere else, at prices you won't find anywhere else."
For most military, their commissary privilege is a valued part of military pay and benefits.
DeCA said it prides itself in its ability to contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America's military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.
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Enjoy additional savings during the commissary case lot sale:
To find out when your commissary is hosting a sale in May, check out the special case lot sale Web page at www.commissaries.com/case_lot_sale.cfm.
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